Sports Betting Tutorials - Betting on Football & Basketball


Betting on Football & Basketball

Other than betting on horses - where the money you get back (your "Payout") is determined by the total amount bet on each horse - your Football & Basketball payouts stay the same: if you win you'll get $10 for every $11 you wagered. That's quite easy to understand: you bet $11 on a team and get $21 back if your team wins. $10 in winnings plus your originally deposited $11 -> $21. That's it.

Types of Bets:

  • The Point-Spread:
    Basically you just bet on the team you like and wait until the game is finished to see if you won or lost your bet.

Now, because in each game there is a supposedly superior team (called "Favorite") and a supposedly inferior team (called "Underdog") everybody could simply bet on the favorite all the time, win most of the time, and the sportsbooks - which have to pay the winnings - would go broke after a short while. So they make use of a most easy to understand betting system, called the "Point-Spread".

In the point-spread system, the winning bet is not determined by which team won the game, but rather by the final score!

Let's say you just started playing Golf and now wanted to play against an expert Golf player who is double as good as you are. You tell him: "Let's play a round. But you win only if you score double as much as I do." You do this in order to keep the chances of winning equal, right? If he was three times as good as you are you would have to say: "You win only if you score three times as much as I do." Do you get the point?

It's the same with sportsbooks and betting on sports. Just and simply the same. There is a favorite and an underdog. And the favorite is being handicapped by the point-spread, the amount of points it has to score more than the underdog in order for you to win your bet.

Let's say the Lions are playing the Birds, where the Lions are 8-point favorites over the Birds. For Lions bettors to win, the Lions have to win the game by more than 8 points. For Birds bettors to win, the Birds have to either win the game or lose by less than 8 points. If the Lions win by exactly 8 points, it's a tie and all bets are returned.

More Examples:


Vikings 12

The home team is always listed second. The point spread is next to the favorite.
Anyway, the Vikings won the game, 24:17. The difference in scores is 7. That's less than the point spread, so the Vikings didn't "cover the spread". The Vikings won the game, but Vikings bettors lost their bet. Lions bettors won.


Saints 7

The Saint won the game, 20:13. The difference in scores is 7. That's exactly the point spread. Bets were returned.


Raiders 3

The Chargers won the game, 14:12. The underdog (the Chargers) won the game and covered the spread. Raiders bettors lost their bet. Chargers bettors won.

  • Over / Under:
    Another type of bet is to bet on the total number of points scored by both teams. You bet whether the total points scored will be less or more than a certain number. This type of betting is called "Over / Under".

Let's say the Lions are playing the Birds again. The over/under posted score is 45 and the game end with a score of 28:20, which in total is 48. If you bet over you won. If you bet under you lost.

If you you win, again: you'll get $10 in winnings for every $11 you wagered.

  • Parlay Bets:
    Yet another type of bet is to bet on more than one team. These bets are called "Parlay Bets". Usually you can bet on two, three, four, or five teams. Sometimes even more.

    For you to win, every team you pick has to cover the point spread. If any of your picks fails to cover, you loose the bet.

    Be aware of the high house edges of these bets, meaning higher chances of loosing and a considerably worse payout... Read More About Expected Winnings in Parlay Betting